|Palatine Chapel in Palermo|
This is one of the few ports, where you dock almost in the center of the city. It will take you 20 minutes to walk to the center. This city in Sicily is known for its many churches. If you have time, it is worth checking out a few of them. One of my favorites is Casa Professa, a very exaggerated baroque church. There is also the main cathedral and many other small ones. You can also do some shopping here mostly for clothes and shoes. We spent dry dock here and got to experience the nightlife, which can be nice. Not too loud, but also not quiet. The only thing that bothered me was the dirtiness of the city, but it is not very surprising in Italy.
Palma de Mallorca
Personally, I love this city. However, it has the disadvantage of the port being quite far away from the city. It takes about 20 minutes without traffic with the shuttle. If you get the chance to go, do it. It is absolutely beautiful and the old part of town will invite you to get lost in the small streets. You can also take the public bus to go see the futuristic Museum of Arts and Science. The fair will cost you 2.50 Euro one way and the drivers are very helpful.
If you only have an hour or so off, check out the terminal. Some ships will be docked directly to the terminal, others require a shuttle to take you from the ship. This terminal was known among the crew to have fast wifi and a nice restaurant. So spend some time here to get time away from the ship if you want.
|Museum of Arts and Science|
Now this one is a hard one. The terminal doesn’t offer much. There is one small cafe upstairs that offers wifi if you make a purchase. It is decent, but not a place you would want to spend hours. The city, on the other hand, is at least 30 minutes away by bus. This can become up to 40-50 minutes if it is rush hour. We always docked here on a Friday (I believe haha) so the evening rush hour traffic as even worse than any other day. If you have any time, it worth one trip. It is not the most beautiful city on the itinerary, but it can be quite nice for a walk around the marina or eat some delicious food.
I only had the chance to visit this city once and let me tell you it can be confusing at the beginning. There is a free shuttle to the exit of the port and from there you can walk. It will take you about 20 minutes to get to the center. Just walk along the seaside. This smaller city is amazing for some food outside. Since the crisis, the prices have dropped so it is very affordable and delicious. There is also many small streets to wonder and exlore. They may also have a street market going on (they did while I was there).
Muscat turned into one of our favorite ports during Dubai season. It is such relaxing place and offers so much at a very close distance to the port. It is a little bit of a hustle to get one bus then another, but once you’re outside the port it will take you only 10 minutes along the promenade to get to the old souq. This area is filled with small coffee shops and restaurants, which offer a good price for money. Also, we have discovered this port to be the best to buy souvenirs. The handlers are fair and you can generally pay in either euros, dollar, or dhirram if you do not have local currency.
This city will be for you if you like souqs and art. The port has nothing much to offer and the city center is about a 20 minute ride by the shuttle bus offered by the ship. It may be worth to check it out once but it is mostly shopping malls and skyscrapers so not much to do except shopping. Close to the port, however, there are two amazing attractions. One of them is a restored souq made to resemble the past. It has many stalls and vendors with all kinds of products. Be careful when buying spices, since they can be fake, but other than that you should be fine. The famous falcon hospital is also located in this souq. You cannot visit it from the inside, but there is a falcon store next to it, where you can see how they are being sold.
On the opposite side of the souq, you can find the Museum of Islamic Art. It is one of the most interesting buildings in terms of architecture around while hosting one of the biggest collections of Islamic art in the region. If you visit, make sure to go to the terrace to admire the beautiful Doha skyline. Also good to know that the entrance is free and they have free wifi, so go check it out for sure. The port will provide a shuttle to the exit and from there you can walk to both of these locations.
|Museum of Islamic Art in Doha|
Oh Dubai. If you are doing Dubai season, this will most likely be your homeport. There is so much to explore in this city, that you won’t be able to do it all even if you go out each time you’re in port. You can visit the creek, the Dubai Mall, venture over to Dubai Marina or Deira, go to the Global Village or the Miracle Garden. There is just so much to do I couldn’t even tell you about it all. This is also the perfect port to ask for excursions to the desert or the Burj Khalifa. If you are lucky and stay here overnight, you can also go out in the evening for dinner, a bar, or a club. The attractions are constantly changing and there are always new things to do. Check out my other blog post here about Dubai to see what cheap things you can do close to the port.
So there you have it. A complete port guide directed towards the crew. What ports did you visit on your itinerary? Which one was your favorite? Share your tips and favorite spots in port with me in the comments below or on Instagram @lettersfromatravelinggirl
Enjoy your cruise adventure.